If you’re not yet the proud owner of the brand new Tesla Model S, the all-electric 2013 Car of the Year, then chances are your vehicle is doing at least some minor damage to the environment. In an age where all industries are being encouraged to “go green,” individual car owners are also being asked to take responsibility for the impact that their vehicle is making upon an already-taxed environment, and to lessen it as much as possible.
Some states, like New York and California, have measures in place to ensure that all vehicles meet certain emissions standards. Cars in these states must go through a biennial smog check to ensure that they are not emitting certain pollutants; otherwise, the car is not street-legal.
Even if you don’t live in a state where green-friendly standards are the law, it is still your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle isn’t causing more harm to the environment than it absolutely has to. If you can’t hop on a bike or walk to your destination, here are some super easy ways that every driver can help their car “go green.”
1. Replace your air filter.
If you neglect your air filter, your car is taking in (and thus emitting) particles and impurities that the atmosphere is then soaking in. Plus, when your air filter is clogged up, replacing it could save you as much as 10% on your car’s gas mileage. Now do the math and calculate how much you spend on gas each week, and reduce that number by 10%… then multiply it by 4 weeks. That’s a lot of money saved in your wallet each month that you could be spending on things you actually WANT to purchase!
And for those of you worried about any added cost, trust us – you do not need to pay a mechanic $30 just to change out your air filter. This is a very easy procedure that you can do yourself at home, with tutorials available on YouTube – leaving you no excuse not to do it regularly! (If we can do it, you can do it.)
2. Change out your motor oil to a synthetic type.
Synthetic motor oil lasts longer, and as it doesn’t require additional petroleum, the result is one less bit of oil that needs to be drilled from the ocean floor. It doesn’t use the same chemicals that break down in higher temperatures that petroleum-based oils do, meaning that those chemicals will not then be released. Many synthetic oils have energy-conserving compounds, and have been labeled as such by the American Petroleum Institute.
3. Clean out your trunk.
When you have a lot of junk in your trunk (pun intended), the added weight causes your engine to work that much harder just to achieve the same speed. With a lighter load, your car works more efficiently and uses far less gas to go the same distance.
4. Drive slower!
Putting the pedal to the metal may work for action heroes and NASCAR drivers, but for you and me, it’s only wasting us money and causing more emissions to hit the atmosphere. But if you actively drive At 60 MPH or under, not only will you reduce the risk of a traffic ticket or a crash, you’ll also save on your fuel economy by as much as 15%.
If you do find yourself tending towards speeding, you may want to consider taking an at-home traffic school course. You’ll learn tips and tricks to avoid using that lead foot, in addition to other helpful vehicle maintenance procedures that will make your car more efficient, thereby lasting longer on the roads and reducing its impact on Mother Earth.